Friday, March 19, 2010

Rosemary Herb Bread

I love this bread. I have made this recipe many times. It's super easy and it's all done by my indispensable bread machine! Yup, this is done in a bread machine. The smell of freshly made bread is really something. I came across this recipe when I was browsing on the website "allrecipes.com". Since I have the herbs used in this recipe, rosemary and thyme growing at my backyard, I thought that I would give this recipe a try, and also after reading some good reviews about this bread. Even though I have tried many other recipes, I would still come back to this. Thank you "Leigh Serth" for submitting this recipe. If you do not own a bread machine, maybe you can try the manual method of making bread. Let me know how it turns out! I made this bread last night, and this morning, make a grill sandwich for my children and their cousins who were sleeping over. They enjoyed it very much. Try it, it's really, really easy! The texture is soft. When eaten warm immediately after baking, you can really enjoy the crispy crust, the soft fluffy texture and the wonderful fragrant of the herbs. It is great eaten with kaya or your favourite jam. My kids love to dip this bread in a bowl of mushroom soup. It really goes well together, a fragrant savoury bread with a bowl of hot mushroom soup. If there are any leftover , I usually just freeze it individually packed in plastic wrap and just steam it for about 2 to 3 minutes and it will be soft again! Try this recipe !


my indispensable bread machine


peeping at the almost done bread.... waiting.....


it's ready,... wonderfully risen and smells delicious....


couldn't wait to take a bite at the crispy crust......


look at the crispy crust .... mmmm


it cuts easily .......


can you see the bits of herbs .....

Ingredients
2/3 cup milk
2 eggs
3 cups bread flour
1-1/2 tsp salt
2-1/2 tbsp white sugar (I use only 1-1/2 tbsp)
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp dried majoram **
1-1/2 tbsp margarine
2 tsp active dry yeast

Method:
Place ingredients in the bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select "Basic" or "White Bread" setting. Start.

(** I omitted the majoram since I do not have any)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Key Lime Cake

This cake turns out lovely. It is moist, soft, with a slight tangy taste and sourness of the lime and sweetness from the sugar. This wonderful recipe is from "Bake Your Cake & Eat It Too" by Tamara Milstein. When I first saw this recipe book (my sis's), I really,really, like it and even though my sis offered to lend it to me, I insist that I am gonna get one copy myself! There's nothing like owing your own book and browsing through those lovely glossy pictures to your hearts content! So off we went to the bookstore and I came back with not only this book, but three recipe books altogether! I was a really happy gal that day , even though I was too sleepy and tired that night, I have to browse my new treasures before I sleep! Browsing through my recipe books is sort of a routine before I retire for the day. For those of you who are nuts about recipe books will know what I mean! Try out this cake, this recipe makes quite a big one. The only changes I make is that I reduce the amount of sugar and I omitted the pecan nuts topping. I'm giving the original recipe as it is. Try it and enjoy this delightful cake!

This recipes makes a rather large cake.


It cuts beautifully....


It goes great with a cup of earl-grey tea!


It is moist, soft and absolutely lovely ....


It has become one of my favourite list of cakes ........


Key Lime Cake
(adapted from "Bake Your Cake & Eat It Too" by Tamara Milstein)

For the cake
100gm pecan nuts, roasted and ground
250gm butter, softened
2 cups caster sugar (I use 260 gm)
zest of 4 limes
5 large eggs
3 cups self raising flour
100gm ground almonds
1 cup milk
2 tbsp chopped macadamia nuts, toasted
2 tbsp sugar

For the glaze
juice of 4 limes (about 6-7 tbsp)
3/4 cup castor sugar (I use 120gm)
2 key limes
2 tbsp coconut threads

Method :
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and generously butter a babka or fluted cake tin. Sprinkle the ground nuts over the buttered tin and set aside. (I use a lined and greased cake pan of 9" x 9" size).
  2. Cream together the butter, sugar and lime zest until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition.
  3. Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the self raising flour, ground almonds and milk, and mix gently but thoroughly.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 70 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
  5. To make the glaze, whisk the lime juice and sugar together and beat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Slice the limes thinly and soak the limes in the lime syrup. Once the cake has finished baking, remove the cake from the oven and brush/pour the lime syrup all over the cake, continuing until it has all been absorbed. (I prick surface of cake all over) Allow the cake to cool in the tin.
  6. When the cake has cooled and the syrup has been absorbed, decorate the cake with the lime slices and sprinkle with the coconut, then serve at room temperature.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pulut Inti (Glutinous Rice Parcels with Sweet Coconut Topping)

Pulut Inti is one of my favourite Nyonya Kueh. I have been thinking of making Pulut Inti for the last few months or so, but never get round to it. I finally did and it was so yummy! Traditionally, it is wrapped into a small parcel using banana leaf. Nowadays, pulut inti is sold wrapped in plastic cling wrap or may be packed in small plastic containers for convenience. Pulut (glutinous rice) is steamed with coconut milk and salt. Inti (topping) is sweet, grated coconut (white part only) cooked with gula melaka (palm sugar) till thick and slightly dry. Have fun trying this recipe. My daughter did ! Just scoop, place, top and wrap!


.





Pulut Inti
(makes 12 parcels)
300gm glutinous rice
1 tsp salt
150ml coconut milk
1 pandan leaf, tied into a knot
coconut filling
banana leaves for wrapping

Method :
  1. Wash rice in several changes of water until water runs clear. Cover with clean water and leave to soak overnight.
  2. The following day, rinse rice, strain and put into a shallow cake pan. Stir salt and coconut milk together and pour over rice together with the pandan leaf. Steam over high heat for about 15 minutes, stir, turn and fluff rice and steam for a further 15 minutes until rice is fully cooked. Remove rice and leave to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare banana leaves by wiping it clean and blanch in hot boiling water for about 30 seconds to soften leaves for easy wrapping. Wipe dry and cut to 12 small squares about 4cm and 12 rectangels about 10cm x 14cm.
  4. Scoop a tablespoon of the cooked rice in the centre of each rectangle leave. Place a teaspoon of the coconut filling on a piece of the small square banana leave and place this on the rice. Fold the leaf on both sides and tuck the ends under. You should just be able to see a little bit of the coconut filling from the top of the parcel. Serve and enjoy!

Coconut Filling

80gm palm sugar, roughly chopped
75ml water
1 pandan leaf, tied into a knot
100gm grated coconut

Method:
  1. Place palm sugar, water and pandan leaf in a pan. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until syrup thickens slightly.
  2. Add grated coconut and continue to cook over low heat for about 15-20 minutes until most of the syrup has evaporated and mixture is thick and glossy.
  3. Remove from heat and cool before using.
(Note : coconut filling can be prepared several days ahead. Simply store it in an airtight container and place it in the fridge until ready to use)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Babi Pongteh (Braised Pork in Fermented Salted Beans)

This is the signature dish of the Nyonya communities. Every Nyonya household should know about this truly authentic distinctive one of a special kind of dish that is enjoyed by the young and old alike. You can find this dish in the menu of the every Nyonya restaurant. Babi Pongteh (as we Nyonya call it), Braised Pork in Fermented Salted Beans is cooked using very simple ingredients, onions, garlic, fermented salted bean paste and if you search the web for this recipe or even from some recipe books, each one has their own version of cooking this dish. It should be slightly sweet and a hint of saltiness form the fermented salted beans with the aroma from the blended ingredients. When this dish is being cooked in the kitchen, even the the neighbour will know about it! This dish can be cooked using chicken instead of pork. Babi Pongteh is prepared on special occasions like Chinese New Year, birthdays, Cheng Beng (where lots of dishes are prepared as offerings to our belated loved ones) and gatherings. Nowadays this dish is enjoyed anytime of the year. I usually cook this with lots of potatoes. Whenever a bowl of babi pongteh is served at the table, the first scoop that everyone dig into will be the potatoes. Not surprising though, the taste of the potatoes after being braised in the gravy is indeed delicious! The Nyonya eat this dish with some pounded chilli garam (Chilli and salt), although this traditional way of eating is slowly diminishing among the new generations of Nyonya. My family still follow this traditional way of consuming this dish. We love anything spicy ! It even tastes better the next day. The gravy would have thicken and the flavours will be more tasty. Simply add a little bit of water and reheat. My children loves to have this with bread or mantao (plain white pau). Try out this recipe. Top the gravy, don't forget the potato and a piece of meat over some hot fluffy white rice, and enjoy this truly special dish "Babi Pongteh".




Ingredients

1kg pork belly (cut to bite-sized pcs)
300gm small onions
120gm garlic
3 tbsp tao cheow (fermented salted beans)
1 tbsp gula melaka (palm sugar)
1 tbsp black soy sauce
15 dried shittake mushroom (soaked for a few hours till soft and remove stems)
8 potatoes (halved or quartered)
3 cups water
1/4 cup oil

Method:
  1. Pound or blend onions and garlic. Add in fermented salted beans paste and mix well.
  2. Heat oil. Fry pounded ingredients till fragrant over low heat.
  3. Add in pork belly and stir for a few minutes until meat turns white. Add in water, black soy sauce, gula melaka, mushroom, cover and let it boil over medium heat for about 5 minutes. (Test for taste. You may add sugar or light soy sauce at this point).
  4. Turn heat to low and braise for about 40 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
  5. Add potatoes and simmer till potatoes are soft.
  6. Serve with hot white rice. Enjoy!

Eggless Chocolate Walnut Cake

This cake is perfect for those who is looking for a healthier choice. It is very moist, soft and slightly crumbly, you can really bite into the moist and juicy raisins and would have thought that this cake is baked using brown sugar instead of white sugar. You wouldn't know that this is an eggless cake. The only thing I change is that I reduce the amount of walnuts as I do not like too much nuts in my cakes. This recipe is definitely a keeper! I got this recipe from one of my recipe books authored by Alex Goh, "Fruity Cakes". I am definitely a fan of Alex Goh, having 6 of his books! Try out this recipe and bake one today. It is really good!
Here's the recipe.




Ingredients
(A
)
300gm water
200gm sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp honey
150gm raisins

(B)
100gm vegetable oil

(C)
220gm plain flour
30gm cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

(D)
200gm walnuts (I use only 140gm)

Method :
  1. Cook (A) until sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool.
  2. Stir in (B) into the cooled (A) and mix until well blended.
  3. Add (C) and mix until well incorporated. Add (D) and mix well.
  4. Pour the batter into the greased and lined loaf pan. Bake at 180C on the bottom rack of the oven for about 40 minutes or test with a skewer for doneness. It should come out clean when the cake is done. (I let it cool in pan before removing cake).

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